When I saw Ken Rosenthal’s tweet, I didn’t blink an eye. While my money was on Jon Heyman breaking the inevitable story, we all knew this was coming. The New York Yankees, of course, got Masahiro Tanaka. And I had eggs for breakfast.
Andy Pettitte retired, C.C. Sabathia’s velocity has been declining for some time now; before this week, there wasn’t so much as one sure thing in the Yankees’ rotation. So naturally, the Yankees went out and bought the best pitcher on the market — and one of the best pitchers on the planet.
If I sound jealous, it’s because I am. I’m fully aware that spending big offseason dollars doesn’t always directly correlate to championships. But at the very least, it almost always translates to relevant games in September, if not October. At this point, with the New York Mets having made the playoffs just one time since the night Bernie Williams ran down Mike Piazza’s fly ball in the deepest part of Shea Stadium, I’ll speak for all Mets fans when I say we’ll take what we can get.
New York Mets Attendance Figures
2008: 51,165 avg attendance (89-73 W-L)
2009: 38,941 avg attendance (70-92 W-L)
2010: 32,401 avg attendance (79-83 W-L)
2011: 30,108 avg attendance (77-85 W-L)
2012: 28,035 avg attendance (74-88 W-L)
2013: 26,695 avg attendance (74-88 W-L)
Bernie Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008. Since that time, the Mets’ attendance figures have steadily declined and a lot of bad baseball has been played. This isn’t a coincidence.
The Wilpons said last offseason that the situation with Madoff, a man they were heavily involved with financially, is in the past. They then said the same at the start of this offseason. Whenever broached on the topic publicly, it’s as if they never met Bernie Madoff. However, actions speak louder than words.
Last year’s $87 million payroll was less than the approximate $100 million payroll in 2012, which of course was substantially less than the $142 million payroll from 2011. This was after GM Sandy Alderson said in August 2012, “This year we’re at $100 million, but I’m hopeful (next year) we’ll be in the same range if not somewhat higher.”
More than anything, what I want is transparency. If the team is not going to spend any money, then they shouldn’t tell fans they will. If the Mets are officially a mid-sized market team in the nation’s biggest market, just let us fans know, Sandy.
But enough of the lies. This fan base has been battered enough, and I’ll speak for us all at this point when I say we deserve some honesty. Besides, the lying isn’t working anyway, so why not try something new? Attendance has been sliced in half over the past five years.
If the team actually does have money to spend, they need to prove it. The Mets were seemingly never a player for Tanaka, but why? The $175 million, seven-year deal (including the posting fee) that the Yankees gave him, which comes out to $25 million per season, really isn’t so crazy in today’s market — especially for a guy who’s just 25-years old.
Sure, I understand the concept of “trusting the process”. I understand not wanting to go seven years on a pitcher. But you know what’s worse? Going seven years without a playoff appearance — a feat the Mets reached at the conclusion of last year.
Right now, the 2014 payroll is estimated at $87.1 million, and it seems unlikely that a true difference-maker will be added to the 2014 roster in the next two months. So while ya gotta believe, it’s highly likely 2014 will mark the 13th time in the last 14 years that the Mets will be missing from October.
So to the people making the decisions: can you at least stop the lying?